How To: Poaching Eggs

I learned how to poach eggs for the first time last year. I had tried everything - having my mom walk me through her method, buying an egg poacher (those things suck, don't bother) to finally accepting that restaurant eggs are it for me. Then I figured out that actually it's just all about the freshness of the egg. I started buying eggs from a local supplier recently and I buy two trays every two weeks (60) so when I get those, it's poaching time! My default method used to be the vinegar water swirly technique. Sometimes it worked, sometimes I lost three eggs before admitting defeat and making boiled eggs instead. When poaching fails, it fails in a big messy way, your eggs just fall apart in the water. But the common theme was; even when they worked, they were never very pretty. 

Then I watched the Masterchef Australia episode that would change my eggy life forever. Thank you Heston Blumenthal! Now, you can watch his video (<--- click over there) but I am still going to describe how I finally perfected it because I do it slightly differently. Fresh eggs are still important but I have actually done this with two week old eggs and it worked perfectly. I LOVE poached eggs and will never go back to swirling water again. 

Short Rib

Until recently I had never used short rib, so I started experimenting with different cooking methods; this is a recipe I developed using my magic spice. It tastes really nice in a stew, but this is my favourite way to use it. This is a very low effort dish to make, using just the meat with a few extra ingredients in the pot, then into the oven for a few hours. Short Rib works great served with cauliflower rice, fried cabbage, or veggie side of your choice.

The side effect of losing weight: other people

Start telling yourself that you are enough. Because, chances are, no one else will. My whole life I have been told repeatedly that I needed to lose weight, I was always made to feel that I was never good enough. This was done by people I knew, by friends, by family and in large part, by society. You all know this pressure, it starts when you realise you don't look like the "beautiful people", that you are different. It started for me when I was about 6. I didn't really look different then, but I felt different from everyone around me.

It's harder when this is coming from the people in your life. And, to a large degree, I don't think it's done on purpose but that doesn't make it sting any less.  When you spend your whole life hearing that you need to change, be better, be thinner, be different than you are; you start telling yourself this stuff. STOP THAT BULLSHIT RIGHT NOW. No one else is going to be your cheerleader, if you don't do it for yourself and by yourself, it won't happen.

Losing weight is bloody difficult, and I don't mean the physical stuff - because compared the things that come afterwards, that stuff is cake. The hard bits are the emotional baggage, adjusting to yourself and fielding other people's reactions. These things usually happen during and after weight loss. Despite this, weight loss is still 100% worth it. If only for the valuable lessons you learn about yourself and other people.

Butter Roast Chicken

This is one of my favourite (and easiest) ways to do chicken for dinner. I came up with this while I was on holiday visiting family, I needed something that wouldn’t take too long to cook and would feed keto and non-keto people. Roast chicken is a staple in my house - it's a very flexible dish. I use this a lot with just Waide and I eating at home, but it's also really simple to upgrade for a dinner with friends/family.

Magic Spice

Most spice mixes that you buy contain starch fillers or brown sugar (including, unfortunately, curry powders - but that's for another spice experiment). Braais (BBQ) are a big deal in South Africa and "Braai spice" is totally a thing every South African has in their spice rack. Except when it's full of carbs. So I created my own variation of a meat spice - a combination of paprika, garlic, beef stock and other spices that I love. This stuff is great as a meat rub, in stews or on roast chicken. There are a million different ways to use it. 

How I started keto: not all vegetables are created equal

Keto is something that I believe you definitely need to put some research time into. Jumping in blindly can hurt you if you aren't careful. I don't mean to scare people away - but mixing high(er) fat with a still elevated carbohydrate intake is not a good idea. I wrote about how I started keto and what keto actually is, a few weeks ago. In this post I will address the issue of which vegetables are "keto friendly" as well as common misconceptions about keto food. 

When I started keto, I was not sure which foods were safe for me to eat. I started looking into the carb counts of foods, taught myself to read labels, googled ALL THE things and started to undertand the basics of lower carb nutrition. I stuck to more "whole foods" - basic keto foods like fatty proteins, non-starchy veggies and healthy fats like olive oil, butter, avocados, nuts and coconut oil. And of course, lots of eggs. I didn't start with intermittent fasting either, I ate three meals a day and for the first 2 - 3 weeks I did not count calories. I felt it was better to concentrate on getting used to keto food rather than calorie intake. Once I got over the cranky phase, I paid more attention to my macros. When you start doing keto it is very important that you familiarise yourself with the basic low carb foods - as this list will inform your eating choices from here on out. 

How To: Reading Labels

I used to see people reading labels in grocery stores and I would wonder what they were using that information for. I was perfectly happy continuing to live in happy ignorance of what I was putting in my body. I did not take my health seriously at all. When I started doing keto I had to train myself to READ EVERYTHING. No more blindly trusting that if a product had a heart health symbol on it, or it said "diabetic friendly" (the biggest lie you can find on packaging in South Africa), "sugar free" (when the contents list maltodextrin), "wholegrain", "all-natural", "organic", "gluten free", "low calorie",  oh and my favourite "superfood". I quickly figured out that the only person I could trust regarding my nutrition, was myself. Which meant I had to educate myself.

In the first few months I did a lot of reading and watched all the food related documentaries I could get my hands on, regardless of their point of view. I wanted all the information. Then I started filtering the information based on what I felt was working for my body. As I'm sure you've all figured out by now, I do keto, which means I severely limit my carbohydrate intake to less than 25g a day. I had to teach myself how to make sense of what food labels said so that I knew what I was eating each day.

Cheese & Garlic Savoury Muffins

Bread substitutes are something that every low carber seems to be on the hunt for. I've tried a few myself, they always just end up tasting like bird food. So I stopped trying. And then I had another accidentally genius baking moment. These muffins are not a bread replacement BUT they have a pretty good bread-like texture. They are great by themselves, or with butter, cheese or avocado. I've made these as large muffins, and in smaller moulds to make mini muffins, my next experiment will be mini bread moulds to see if they slice well. I hope you guys love this recipe as much as I do. 

Cold Brew Coffee

I am a caffeine junkie. Before keto, I had a '4 to 5 cups a day' tea habit, but black tea holds zero appeal for me so I found myself switching to coffee. I have always loved coffee but now it borders on obsession. We have about 4 different coffee machines and are planning to buy a Nespresso machine next month. I started experimenting with different brewing methods and cold brew was my first exploration away from "regular coffee". I was in love the minute I tasted it. I make cold brew about once a week. It makes 3 litres each time and lasts me about 5 days.

Keto Lava Cake

This recipe is amazing, like mindblowingly chocolatey gooey amazing. It's technically a flourless brownie recipe (included in this post) that I accidentally undercooked. Best accident ever.